By Vladimir Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov's early novel is the fantastic tale of the coarse, unusual but oddly endearing chess-playing genius Luzhin. learning his prodigious reward in boyhood and emerging to the rank of foreign Grandmaster, Luzhin develops a lyrical ardour for chess that renders the true global a phantom. As he confronts the fiery, swift-swooping Italian Grandmaster Turati, he brings into play his rigorously devised defence. Making masterly play of metaphor and imagery, "The Luzhin Defense" is the e-book that, of his early works, Nabokov felt 'contains and diffuses the best warmth'.
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Extra info for Luzhin Defense (Penguin Modern Classics)
Rereading this novel this present day, replaying the strikes of its plot, i believe similar to Anderssen fondly recalling his sacrifice of either Rooks to the unlucky and noble Kieseritsky—who is doomed to simply accept it time and again via an infinity of textbooks, with a question mark for monument. My tale used to be difficut to compose, yet I vastly loved making the most of this or that photo and scene to introduce a deadly development into Luzhin’s existence and to endow the outline of a backyard, a trip, a chain of humdrum occasions, with the illusion of a video game of ability, and, in particular within the ultimate chapters, with that of a customary chess assault demolishing the innermost parts of the terrible fellow’s sanity. during this connection, i want to spare the effort and time of hack reviewers—and, regularly, individuals who circulate their lips while examining and can't be anticipated to take on a dialogueless novel while loads could be gleaned from its Foreword—by drawing their realization to the 1st visual appeal of the frosted-window subject (associated with Luzhin’s suicide, or fairly sui-mate) as early as bankruptcy 11, or to the pathetic manner my morose grandmaster recalls his expert trips now not by way of sunburst baggage labels and magic-lantern pictures yet when it comes to the tiles in numerous resort bogs and hall toilets—that ground with the white and blue squares the place he stumbled on and scanned from his throne imaginary continuations of the fit video game in development; or a teasingly asymmetrical, commercially known as “agate,” trend with a knight movement of 3 arlequin shades interrupting right here and there the impartial tint of the in a different way frequently checkered linoleum among Rodin’s “Thinker” and the door; or sure huge glossy-black and yellow rectangles whose H-file used to be painfully bring to a halt by means of the ocher vertical of the hot-water pipe; or that palatial water closet on whose gorgeous marble flags he well-known, intact, the shadowy figurations of the precise place he had brooded upon, chin on fist, one evening decades in the past. however the chess results I planted are distinguishable not just in those separate scenes; their concatenation are available within the easy constitution of this beautiful novel. therefore towards the top of bankruptcy 4 an unforeseen circulate is made through me in a nook of the board, 16 years elapse during one paragraph, and Luzhin, by surprise promoted to seedy manhood and transferred to a German hotel, is stumbled on at a backyard desk, stating along with his cane a remembered resort window (not the final glass sq. in his lifestyles) and chatting with anyone (a girl, if we pass judgement on by means of the purse at the iron desk) whom we don't meet until bankruptcy Six. The retrospective subject matter started in bankruptcy 4 colours now into clone of Luzhin’s past due father, whose personal earlier is taken up in bankruptcy 5 whilst he, in his flip, is perceived recalling his son’s early chess profession and stylizing it in his brain with a view to make of it a sentimental story for the younger. We swap again to the Kurhaus in bankruptcy Six and locate Luzhin nonetheless twiddling with the purse and nonetheless addressing his blurry significant other whereupon she unblurs, takes it clear of him, mentions Luzhin senior’s loss of life, and turns into a different a part of the layout.